Saturday, November 29, 2008

Report: Microsoft in talks with Yahoo! UPDATE

UPDATED - See Below ..

The TimesOnline (London) is reporting that, once again, Microsoft is in talks to 'buy' Yahoo!.

This latest bid is for Yahoo's search business.

Speculation of a 'new deal' began early this week as Carl Icahn, who now is on the Yahoo! board, revealed that he had purchased a larger stake in the search company.

Microsoft dominated the tech news headlines for months during 2008 as the company made two bids to buy Yahoo!.

Primary opposition came from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang who recently stepped down as CEO of the company as pressure continued to build from stockholders and the new Yahoo! board.

The (as yet, unconfirmed) report provides specific details of the new talks underway (and the Times has been generally reliable in breaking stories over the years).

According to the report, Microsoft will supply $5 billion in capital with an additional $5 billion from outside investors.

"The talks with Yahoo involve Microsoft obtaining a 10-year operating agreement to manage the search business. It would also receive a two-year call option to buy the search business for $20 billion. That would leave Yahoo to run its own e-mail, messaging, and content services."

Recent stats from ComScore have shown that Yahoo! had increased it's market share in the past few months and this latest chapter would give the new 'operating group' control of the search business for a fraction of the original bid made before the 'economic downturn'.

The Times story is online and can be found here.

UPDATE: 1:20 AM ET - Kara Swisher (who more often than not has an excellent inside track on this landscape and many of the people involved) just dropped a note back on Twitter and pointed me to her piece titled 'Total Fiction - There is no deal' which can be found at All Things Digital here. (with Thanks to Kara for her always prompt response and clarification!)